Showsight Presents The Poodle


Let’s Talk Breed Education!



gourds decorated. Turkeys, Santa, Snowmen, Easter Bunnies. Just fun Stuff! Gardening, traveling visiting new places with friends. Cooking. I really love living everyday with my Toy Poodles and life! Purchased my first Brown Miniature Poodle in 1969, bred my first litter in 1972, went to my first Puppy Match in Clarks- ville Tennessee in July of 1972, my first point show in fall of 1972 my brown puppy dog was Reserve Winners Dog. Here I am all these 45 years later with breeding and showing and judging. Life is good! I have shown all these years as a Breeder Owner Han- dler with a partner, A. Monroe McIntyre in Miniatures with a record of 77 Champions in Black, Brown with the Kennel names of Apogee Daktari Poodles. This partnership was from 1975 through the 1990s. Always working on A Toy Poodle line. I applied to judge my one breed, Poodles, in 1997. IT was a one for one and two for two process to accomplish the Toy Group. Was elected to Judge The Poodle Club of America National, the Miniature Variety in 2000, and again elected to judge the Toy Variety in 2003. Still breeding and showing Toy Poodles in a co-ownership with Ianthe Bloomquist of Baliwick in Black and Browns. Show in the Bred By Exhibitor or Puppy Classes within my 500 mile driving area. Do not Special a Special. I love the whelping box! I have attended Judges Education Institute in Toy, Non Sporting, Terrier, Working, Herding and Hounds. These are two years each to accomplish these groups. Approved to Judge Toy, Terrier and The Non Sporting Groups along with Best In Show. DORIS

I live in a suburb of Seattle Washington, home of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Boeing and the Seahawks. Outside of the dog world, I am a Land Developer. My company Lakeridge Develop- ment and Classic Concepts devel- op single-family neighborhoods from the raw ground to the completed homes. I have had a dog all my life. I first started showing dogs in 1968 as a junior handler. I found my first show dog, a silver Minia-

ture, in a snow bank in Alaska. I joined 4-h and started train- ing my dog in obedience. It was not long until the local breed- ers discovered me and gave me a registered Poodle. I was a junior handler in 4-H and my daughter was a junior handler. Junior handlers are my passion. I’ve been showing since 1968 and judging since 2013. Debra Ferguson Jones became involved in showing dogs as a junior handler. She bred the Poodle Club of America Best in Show winner in 2010 and 2018. She has owned many Best in Show winning dogs, most notable of which was GCHP Brighton Lakeridge Encore winner of over 115 all breed best in shows and Reserve Best In Show at Westminster. In addi- tion to being a long time Standard Poodle breeder, Debra has bred Bedlington Terriers, Collies, Doberman Pinschers and Pomeranians. NANCY

COZART I live in Denton, Texas—a col- lege town north of Fort Worth. I am active in our church and belong to several woman’s clubs supporting education. Also a great wine club! I’ve been in the dog world for many years, hav- ing dogs since I was a young girl. I’ve been showing for about 20 years and judging for 25 years.

HAFNER I live in Northwest Alabama, Tuscumbia , the birth place of Helen Keller. Outside of dogs, I paint in three mediums of Oil, Watercolor and Acrylic. My last project was painting on




Kay grew up in the sport of dogs. She traveled to dog shows with her parents, Dick and Ida Baum and her three sisters, Nan- cy, Jill and Lynn. Her first juniors dog was a Doberman but she has shown many breeds over the years. She still has poodles, but has also done quite well with her Chinese Cresteds in recent years. I live in Micanopy, Florida. As


far as anything outside of dogs, most everything I do involves dogs to some extent, but I would say travel is the one thing I do most outside of actual dog shows. I got my first Poodle to show about 31 years ago and have never been without Poodles since. I have bred many titlehold- ers under the Kaylen’s name. I have actually been showing dogs for about 52 years now. JACQUELINE RUSBY Jacqueline has been judging

2 What are your “must have” traits in this breed? DFJ: Typie, correct construction, soundness. NH: Level top line, high set tail, front set under the withers, its always about balance! Balanced in bone for each of the three varieties: Toy’s must look like a Toy and Minia- tures like a Miniature with Standards like Standards. Too much bone is as wrong as to little bone. In each of the varieties. Always look for elegant, square, moving effortless with carriage. Head up and tail up, groomed to the nines! Not overdone in length of top knots as that becomes out of balance. DC: Square! It is one of the hardest faults to breed out. Expression—there should be an intelligent look. Good condition, correct bite with clean teeth and the correct foot. An attitude of “Here I am and know I’m special.” 3. What makes a Sporting dog the ideal companion in the 21st century? KP: Not only are they fantastic house pets, but Poodles are also hypoallergenic which makes them ideal for people with allergies. 4. What about the breed makes it a great show dog? KP: People tend to forget the Poodle is a retriever even though it is in the non-sporting group, so they have a natural athletic ability in the show ring, not to mention the haircuts they are required to be in for showing. Most Poodles when groomed tend to “show off” as well. JR: Poodles enjoy company and love to show. 5. What about the breed is most misunderstood by the general public? KP: The “general public” tends to look at Poodles as simply a “fluffy foo foo” dog and they are so much more.

for 25 years, 23 years licensed, and judges all breeds. She is a Life Member of the Canadian Kennel Club, a member and former Trea- surer of the Canadian Dog Judges Association, a past President of the Hochelaga Kennel Club and Mount Royal Toy Dog Fanciers and past Conformation Direc- tor of the Ottawa Valley Poodle Club. She is also a member of the American Dog Judges’ Institute. She is a former breeder of all

varieties of Poodles. In earlier years she also participated in Obedience Trials as well as Conformation Shows. Her travels now take her for judging in Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand and the US. I live in South Shore of Montreal, Quebec; Canada. I’ve had Poodles since 1959; judging since 1990; licensed in 1992. 1. Describe the breed in three words. DFJ: Elegant, dignity, square. NH: Elegant, balanced and carriage. Must be groomed in our correct clip for the age! DC: Intelligent, elegant and active. These are from the first paragraph of our standard, which describes the Poodle quite well. KP: Smart, beautiful and misunderstood. JR: Intelligent, beautiful, pliant.




With The Health Foundation at The Poodle Club of American their studies are always looking for issues to make our breed the healthiest ever! DC: Poodles are three varieties. It is hard to say, there were some Poodles from years back that would be competi- tive today. I feel the Toy Variety has improved the most. When I first started breeding Toys they were not the quality they are today. We also had a smaller gene pool and did not have the resources that are available today. Miniatures were probably the strongest variety when I started. Then they were diagnosed with PRA. It took a long time for the Minis to recover after that. I am so grateful that we now have a test for PRA. Standards were fairly strong when I started, they have continued to improve. Like all breeds, they evolve. We go through stages, when trying to correct a fault. We work on cor- recting one aspect and then lose another. JR: The Poodle has certainly improved over the years. The Standard Poodle conforms well, but still great effort is required for many fronts, as in the smaller Poodles. Toy Poodles have improved greatly over the last 50 years or so when North America had the height limit down 1" from the UK limit of 11". Correct proportions were lost to get the toys within 10". I am happy to say they became more diminutive and breeders worked very hard and we now have very beautiful toys within this size with desired structure. 9. What is the biggest health concern facing the breed today? DFJ: I believe the Poodle comunity as a whole is moving toward greater testing and eliminating some of the genetic issues, we can test for from the gene pool. NH: To my knowledge we work as breeders of The Poodle Club of America to breed the healthiest Poodles. I feel our biggest concern is all the other breeds making designer breeds with Poodles.

People are often surprised by what great watchdogs they can be whether in the home or the car. A lot of people also do not realize that the continental trim is designed specifically for the Poodle when they are retrieving. JR: The reason for the traditional, stylized clip. 6. What advice would you give a newcomer? KP: Best advice? Find a reputable breeder known for the health, temperament and overall quality in their dogs and use that as a starting point. If you are going to show and/or groom yourself, then choose someone to follow as a mentor who will help you learn things as you go and make the experience positive. JR: Get advice from top breeders. Read as much as possible. Follow the standard rigorously. 7. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? DFJ: In an effort to make the dog appear more square some breeders are breeding dogs with longer legs resulting in side-winding. NH: Over-done top knots. Black being black enough, poor feet being covered with long leg hair covering them. DC: A while ago Poodle breeders started to breed for leaner heads which led to less bone over all. They have worked to correct this and the proper bone is reappearing. 8. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? DFJ: I do believe that many breeders are starting to become more concerned with correct structure and are breeding better fronts and more balanced dogs. NH: No, not really, as it depends upon the variety and the part of the country you are judging. We have good healthy Poodles that are always on four good legs.




10. Describe “Poodly.” DFJ: Stopping for a party in the middle of working. A Poodle is happy to be alive. There is a party in everything.And if she can’t find a party she will make a party, girls just want to have fun. NH: It’s as our Breed Standard refers to “air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself!” Once you see it in the ring, standing around looking to see who and if any oth- ers are watching! 11. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? DFJ: New judges have a difficulty getting passed the hair. NH: The grooming in as much as what is under the hair—a moderate, balanced, dog! We can groom to make it look as though the front is under the withers, make the tail set look as tho its set on high, give leg under them, shorten length of back. It can become a grooming contest that new judges never see in the beginning! DC: Many find the coat difficult. What I mean is they are somewhat afraid to put their hands into the coat. It won’t break and you must feel the dog. We are a glamorous breed but we are just a dog under the coat. It is hard to learn to see past the coat. I recommend that anyone who wishes to judge our breed attend the National Specialty. The judges education program is good. Plus you get to go over many Poodles. Every allowed color, trim in all three varieties. It is a great opportunity to learn. 12. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? DFJ: This breed has an air of distinction and a dignity and elegance that sets them apart.

NH: Poodles must be of breed type , sound, groomed, car- rying himself proudly in a light springy trot in any of our solid colors. DC: It is a special breed. A very versatile breed. Each variety is special in its own way. From companion dogs to Field Trials, there is something for everyone in this breed. 13. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? NH: Was showing a Miniature Poodle in Atlanta inside with large posts in our ring, trying to get dog to go down and back and ran into one of the posts. In these number of years, lots of humor one must laugh at oneself and move on! It’s life—enjoy. DC: At a show I was judging, there was a new exhibitor, she had a lovely example of the breed and I awarded her BOW. I was marking my book and said, “Arm band please.” She took off her arm band and handed it to me. I now say, “Armband number please!” KP: It was the Ocala dog show and Bill and I were just get- ting together. It was a Sunday and we had to break down and drive home. Bill wanted to help and he was great help with the heavy stuff. Then, it came time to empty the buckets, you know, the ones we use when we scoop up after the dogs? Well, let’s just say that was his true introduction to every aspects of dog shows. I’m happy to say it did not scare him off as we have been married now for over 13 years. JR: Camaraderie amongst exhibitors is enjoyable to see. Everyone should work hard for harmony amongst breed- ers for the common good. There is much to learn from each other.




F irst I feel you must look at the whole picture: this is a silhouette breed in three vatieties. Toy Poodles 10 inches, Miniatuare Poodles over 10 inches to include 15 inches, and Stan- dard Poodles are over 15 inches: an active, intelligent, squarely built, prop- erly groomed, elegant appearing, mov- ing soundly, carrying himself proudly, air of distinction “Poodley”, well-pro- portioned with proper boning for each of the three varieties. When they carry themselves around the ring effortlessly. I can tell you they are constructed cor- rectly! You then have to look and exam- ine the fine points to judge the whole Poodle picture. Then the class enters your ring.With observing them go around your ring. You might pick one or two that you think is the best, however until you get them on the examination table will you be able to see if the one that you thought was the best is still the best in the class. We can trim them to look per- fect. And this might all be the hair and trim. We can trim them to be square, with a great set back on the front and give them angles in the rear to match the front. What ring side sees may or may not be what is under the coat and the trim and where you will place them in this class. IN THE POODLE’S VALUE OF POINTS: IN THE VALUE OF 100 POINTS General appearance, temperament, car- riage and condition value of 30 points This is the whole picture: square- ly built, moving soundly, properly groomed. They must carry them- selves proudly! Head up—Tail up (or no ribbon!)

Head, expression, ears, eyes and teeth value of 20 points We are looking for in head is a mod- erately rounded, slight stop, flat cheek- bones with length from occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle. Muzzle long, straight with slight chis- eling under the eyes. The ears are set on at or slightly below the eye with a long wide ear leathers handing close to the head with feathering. Eyes are very dark, oval and set far enough apart to give an alert intelligent expression. Teeth are strong white with a scissors bite. Body, neck, legs, feet and tail value of 20 points Chest deep moderate width with well sprung ribs, topline level, loin is short, forequarters strong smoothly muscled shoulder blade is well laid back with the hindquarters balanced with the forequarters. The forelegs are straight with the elbow set directly below the point of the shoulder. Hind legs are muscular with width in the region of the stifles that are well bent equal length of femur and tibia. Hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When free standing the rear toes are only just behind the point of the rump. The neck is well propor- tioned, strong and long enough to car- ry the head proudly with it set well in to the muscled shoulder. The feet are small and oval and well arched toes with a thick cushioned thick pads nails to be short. The standard states that “entire foot is to be shaven and visible” tail is set on high straight and carried up. Docked to balance the outline of the whole picture of our Poodle. Gait value of 20 points A straight-forward trot, light springy action strong hindquarters drive.

Head and tail carried up. Sound effort- less movement is essential! So this is not the hackney movement, its not with the hindquarters under itself or placed behind the tail set, that has no drive off the rear. Its a trot in a light springy action that is correct!

Coat, color and texture is 10 points

Coat is curly (we bathe and blow it dry and this straightens it.) Naturally harsh texture dense throughout. Trims Puppy—six months to the first birth- day. On this first day of the birthday. It must be in one of the adult trims. If not this is a DQ! This is why you must ask your steward date of birth on the pup- py being entered any other class than puppy. Even in the BOV class, Group or Best In Show! The puppy trim is to be carefully trim to give a neat appearance with the coat long as to the age of the dog in hair growth stage. This puppy trim has no broken line or lines. The face, feet, neck and base of tail is to be shaved. The entire foot is to be visible! Carries a pompom on the tail. The english saddle trim is one of the great trims that not everyone can set and not every Poodle can carry. The Poodle must be balanced and up on leg to wear this trim. In order to wear this trim the Poodle must have a good driv- ing rear to wear it! This trim must have a shaved kid- ney patch , shaved bands to divide the hind legs, the hindquarters are covered with a shorter blanket of hair and can be tightly curly blanket or hair dryed straight to make and shape of the pack. It can be sprayed with water and patted to make darker and tighter curls. This is what the handler can do to make it the most outstanding trim! If you are




Major faults: • Eyes that are round, protruding, large or very light • Lack of underjaw (chin) • Bite undershot, overshot, wry mouth • Ewe neck • Tail set low, curled, or carried over the back • Steep shoulder • Paper or splay foot • Cow-hocks • Color of nose, lips and eye-rims incomplete or wrong color for color of Poodle • Temperament of shyness or sharpness • Any distinct deviation from the desired characteristics described in the breed standard Disquali fi cations: • Size: Toy’s over 10 inches, Miniature’s over 15 inches • Clip: any Poodle in any other type of clip other than that is specified under clip in standard • Parti-color the coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but or two or more colors. Everyone needs to make ones own list of the ten most important breed characteristic of what makes a Poo- dle a Poodle for them. This would be what they must have in the Poodle they award! If you have any additional questions after checking and re-reading the breed standard you may contact me. Nancy Hafner at, AKC #7295 with the Toy and Non-Sporting groups, best and 14 Terrier breeds.

The puppy trim would not be seen in cords as it takes a great deal of time to accomplish these cords, with having to change the trim on first birthday you would run out of time! All of these trims, continental, eng- lish saddle and corded Poodles have bracelets on the hind legs and puffs on the front legs. We have the sporting trim. This trim is not shown in regular classes (non-competitive classes only) such as stud dog, broad bitch and the parade of champions. The breed standard states: “Require- ments for the topknot—in all clips. The hair maybe left free or held in place by elastic bands. The hair of sufficient length to present a smooth outline! Top- knot refers only to hair on the skull, from stop to occiput. This is the only area where elastic bands may be used! Rubber bands may not be placed under the ears or down the back of the neck, over the shoulders Color: The coat is an even and solid color at the skin. May show shading of any one color with many being born black that will start to clear to silver and will have darker tipping as they clear. Most likely the last places you will see this dark tipping will be ear feathering. Natural colors in shading will be in accepted in many of the other colors other than black and white Poodles. Brown and cafe-au-lait will have brown or liver nos- es, eye-rims and lips. This is accepted in apricots colors also, these can have amber eyes, this is correct for these col- ors. Do we prefer dark eyes. Yes. The Poodle colors of white, black, blue, gray, silver, cream have black noses and eye rims and lips.

not informed about this trim then you may not like it as it would seem odd. However, this was the main trim that all Poodles would wear at the dog shows in the earlier days of dog shows. As most of the Poodle world early on hated the shaved bare butt! You must learn to appreciate the whole dog and our trims is the icing on the Poodle! I have seen old pictures where the kidney patch was as large as a salad plate. So it’s up to the handler to do what they think looks best in trimming on the Poodle as long as it meets the requirements of our breed standard! Continental trim today this is the most popular trim that is being shown. Those with rears that are as straight as a stick it seems no one even notices for whatever reason; it seems to be the easy clip for the dog shows. Here you shave the hindquarter’s before every show along with face, neck, feet and front legs then scissor in the rest to fin- ish balance of the Poodle in the trim. The two pompoms (or rosettes) are on the hip, however they can also be shown without any pompoms. Again this is the handler’s option. When the front legs are bowed its like the judge doesn’t even think this is a factor in evaluation of this Poodle. In the adult trims is the only time this will be seen as the standard states forelegs straight and parallel when view from the front, when viewed from the side the elbow is directly below the highest point of the point of the shoulder” when in puppy trim you slide your hands down the front legs to feel for straight legs and where they are placed in all the puppy hair! Both of these trims can be corded hair but must be in the exact same lines as without cords.




Y ou know it won’t be easy when historians all agree on one point and historians all agree that the Poodle has “undefinable origins”. The existence of three varieties and the acceptance of any solid color won’t make the task of defining its history any easier. As any Poodle person will tell you, the breed is “one of a kind”; this suggests that its history will be as well. As early as 30 AD, Poodle-like dogs appeared on Roman tomb carvings and on Greek and Roman coins. By the 15th century, references to Poodles appeared in both writing and art and the art of that time portrayed the Poodle in a fac- simile of today’s traditional trims. Russia, Germany and France are generally believed to be the homes of the Poodle’s rootstock, but the histori- cal record suggests that there was con- siderable type variance from the start. The Russian dogs were somewhat more Greyhound-like in body type. In Ger- many, the Poodle was more thickset and heavy boned. Even though the Ger- man word “pudel” means “to splash in water” , in early times the German vari- ety was often used a as a cart dog. In France, where the Poodle is the national dog, we find early evidence of the different sizes that are evident in today’s US Poodles. The “Petite Barbet” was a toy-like version found in France long ago and many believe it included

the influence of the Toy Spaniel and the Maltese. However, it is doubtful that any of that early stock survived or is found in the current Toy pedigrees. France started the notion of size vari- ation and the breed’s popularity with the French aristocracy started the “fan- cification” of the Poodle trim. Where the Germans had taken all of the hair off the back half of their dogs, the French fanciers added the pompoms and cou- lettes. In part to protect the dog’s joints when in the water, it without question made the breed more decorative. The popularity of the breed spread to many other European countries. But it was England’s work with the breed that would prove of great significance to US breeders, as much of our modern Poodle foundation would come from English origin. While there were both the French type and the heavier stock found in England, the more refined type was preferred in general. Early impor- tations included dogs of both types. In the US, Poodle registrations were noted as early as the 1890s. English breeder Jane Lane (Nunsoe Kennels) was an early source for US fanciers. Her stock went back to the Labory Kennels of Madame Reichen- bach in Switzerland and was important on several fronts—particularly in the case of Tri Int CH Nunsoe Duc de la Ter- race. This dog popularized the Poodle following his ring career, capped off by

winning the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1934. The Standards and Miniatures main- tained a separate registry with the AKC and Toys were not part of the scene. While various dogs were imported and recorded during the 1920s and a number of people began breeding pro- grams, the decade was viewed much as the “calm before the storm” by many breed historians. There was, indeed, a spike in Poodle interest, but it was the next decade when the “Poodlelization of America” became a reality. In 1931, the Poodle Club of America was started and while there was a bit of competi- tion among various facets of breeders, it was resolved with PCA becoming a force that has led and guided the breed’s evolution. During its beginning years, PCA National Specialties were held in conjunction with All-Breed shows. But in 1938, the first independent specialty show was held and from that time on, the national show has continued to develop and grow and is heralded by many as one of the most prestigious national specialties in the nation. In 1933, Whippedell Poli of Caril- lon won the Non-Sporting Group at the Westminster Kennel Club and that was a break-through point for the breed. In the same year, the Duc, mentioned ear- lier, came to Blakeen Kennels as the gift of Mrs. Sherman Hoyt’s mother. He did a great deal to launch this new, but rather


A group of Labory Standard Poodles in Switzerland at play in the 1930s, owned by Madame Lucrienne Reichenbach.


instantly, successful breeding establish- ment. And when he won Best in Show at the 1934 Westminster Kennel Club Show, his impact spread throughout the nation. The Duc’s Garden win and his extensive show career did much to popularize the Poodle. His career ben- efited Miniature Poodles, as well as the future of the Toy variety itself. By the mid-30s, the Miniature vari- ety was recognized by the PCA. For several years they and the Standard would define the breed. But then in the 1940s, there would be development and acceptance of Miniatures, as well as the legalization of the Toy variety. In 1943, toy breeders and the PCA came to an agreement and the third variety was acknowledged and opened to all colors, just as with the two larger varieties. In fact, just one breed standard serves all three varieties. The size differentia- tion is the key element: toys are 10" and under, Miniatures are over 10" but no more than 15" and Standards are more than 15". These size designations are uniquely American and different from all other countries. Miniatures began in earnest to win at the Group and Best in Show level and the popularity of Poodle continued to spread. Garnering breeder attention in the Midwest and throughout the nation, popularity grew especially fast in Cali- fornia. Florida, Texas, Washington and Oregon also became hotspots. At the 1945 Westminster show, two Standard dogs—half-brothers— drew attention by going Winners and Reserve Winners dogs. They were Car- illon Colin of Puttencove and Carillon

Jester. Colin was owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Putnam of Manchester, Massachusetts and he launched a sub- stantial show career winning many groups and Bests in Show. He also spearheaded a family of Standards and proved to be a sire of immense impor- tance to the Standard variety. Jester, however, finished his title, but probably did more to make the general public aware of Poodles than any dog ever in breed history. He was owned by Louise Branch, but it was with his breeder/handler Blanche Saunders that Jester’s contributions unfolded. In addi- tion to his bench title, Jester earned a UDT title in the US and an Int. CD title. Ms. Saunders launched an aggressive career as an obedience demonstrator that included Jester’s appearances in movies, television and at the National Dog Week observances held at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City each September. The dog and handler logged thousands of miles traveling in a car and pulling a trailer to demonstrate Jester’s abilities in the new area of obedience. Many obedience enthusiasts credit him with advancing interest in that sport more than any other single dog. The Poodle breed is well served by its parent club, the Poodle Club of Ameri- ca. The PCA has established an effective foundation that has worked diligently to help solve the problems resulting from heritable diseases. Accomplishments have been great and work continues—it includes a structure of 48 affiliate clubs that serve the needs of breeders and exhibitors and host annual shows and present educational programs. The PCA

CH Acadia Command Performance CD, a distant descendant of Promise, won Westminster in 1973 wearing the English Saddle trim.

has also been responsive to breeder and exhibitor interests related to tracking, retrieving, rally and hunting activities as well as the more traditional obedi- ence and confirmation competitions. Competitive events to meet those inter- ests exist throughout the US and it is not far-fetched to imagine one day soon we’ll find the versatile Poodle herding sheep and other livestock and fowl in competitive events as well. The Poodle, as breed fanciers have long known, is a most versatile breed. It’s this versatility, as well as the will- ingness to accompany, serve and amuse people surrounding them, that makes the Poodle such a popular breed. Those people are not “masters”. Living with a Poodle is a unique experience. Their greatest strength is that they are companion dogs, devoted to those with whom they live, but never really mastered by them. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Del Dahl has been involved with Poo- dles for 40 years, breeding 26 cham- pions under the Fontella prefix. He has bred and owned All-Breed and Specialty Best of Breed winners, many owner/handled. A number of dogs he owned or bred have become impor- tant top producers in the Miniature variety, including the all-time top pro- ducing sire, CH Parade Kiss And Tell. Del owned Poodle Review Magazine and is the author of the popular book, The Complete Poodle. He continues freelance writing as well as the breed- ing and showing of Poodles today.

CH Wilber White Swan was the first Toy Poodle to win Westminster (1956). Notably, his handler Ann Rogers-Clark was the first female handler to win the big show.



by SCOTT WOLFE Illustrations courtesy of the Official AKC Standard for the Poodle

T he question of how to approach judging Poodles is one to which I have dedicat- ed much thought. Although judging is at its core the evaluation of breeding stock, the dog show in its modern incarnation often obscures this basic intent. With so much attention paid to “the glamour” at shows many times the flashy or dramatic exhibits steal the show to the detriment of this basic tenet of judging. Although they may appear to be the same, constraints of time and procedure separate the judging experience from evaluation in the role as a breeder. The standard for the breed is your touchstone, however, a simple reading is not enough, rather, it should serve as the framework and a starting point for study and conversation in order to reach understanding of how to apply it to the actual dog. What I would like to introduce here is nothing new or origi- nal; simplify things to make them mem- orable and accessible, keep the breed history and function at the heart of your decision making process and, finally, always remember to ask the question: if I were breeding this breed which one would I take home? Keep it simple; distill everything down to its most basic. Dog people are by and large visual people; this common- ality is like part of our genetic code and why we find a beautiful dog appealing in the first place. Focus on breed related basic shapes; the outline or silhouette is a shape defined by the arrangement of anatomical components. Get the shape right and the pieces and parts are usu- ally arranged properly. Details are also shapes, the eye, the foot, the profile of the head, even the negative space from underline to the ground between the front and rear legs is a shape relat- ing information pertinent to evaluating a breed. Be familiar with and apply basic ideas; the Poodle temperament, atti- tude and presence governs so much of

(Reprinted with permission from Poodle Variety 2011)




Correct side view

Correct front view


Squarely built: height equals length.

Broad, heavy head, throaty

Too broad and heavy

Too broad and heavy

Round skull, short snipey muzzle

Round head, snipey muzzle

The Standard for the Poodle (Toy variety) is the same as for the Standard and the Miniature varieties except as regards to heights.

Lack of chin, too narrow, snipey muzzle

Round skull, snipey muzzle, round eyes

Too narrow

the way it is perceived in the ring. How it greets its environment, people, plac- es and things is central to the concept we term Poodley. The Poodle outlook is self-assured, inquisitive and unflap- pable. This outlook is the key to why it carries and presents itself in a proud and elegant fashion. Breed history is paramount. What a breed looks like is the result of many generations of selective breed- ing that began with the desire to mold a dog ideally suited for a specific pur- pose. Although our breed wears many hats, its adaptability grows from traits emphasized to meet the requirements to perform well in its original role of water retriever. Each aspect of the Poo- dle relates to this history. General appearance is so succinctly and elegantly phrased in the standard there is little that can be written or said to further illuminate. It should be the benchmark in breeding and judg- ing. “That of a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly.

Properly clipped in the traditional fash- ion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about an air of distinction and dig- nity peculiar to himself.” Whether breeding or judging you at times will have an individual dog or bitch that may possess attributes that make it a good dog but with no resem- blance to this description. It can be a good dog and not be a good Poodle. General descriptions are placed at the beginning of written standards precise- ly for this reason; everything that fol- lows is subjugated to this explanation of the essence of a breed. Put simply; be this first. I know this will come as a disap- pointment to some but I will not be retelling the standard here. So what I will do is go back to my original prem- ise that all things stem from the original purpose. Read the standard with an eye to why… oval eyes, smallish to medium size, relatively deep set (read between the lines here: large, round and pro- truding are taken out of our options by being deemed a major faults). The description of the skull and muzzle

envision a head that is streamlined yet strong with enough room to accommo- date a thoughtful capable brain. The ears described are large and placed in such a way as to be at or below eye level and close to the head. All of the above facilitate moving though tough marsh grasses and brush and diving in water without injury yet providing enough strength to carry a duck. Other details in this section are aesthetic. Dark eyes and chiseling may not enhance per- formance but the expression is more attractive as a result. The duck surely does not care but I do. The body is squarely built with a very precise approach outlined to arrive at this square; breastbone to point of rump approximating the height from the highest point of the shoulders to the ground. This formula, using the exterior most points to establish length, although mathematically square has the appearance of a dog taller than long. With additional Poodle specific embellishment (our trim) the effect can become even further exaggerated. The chest is deep, moderately wide, with



Flat hind foot

Cat foot front view

Paper foot side view

Correct foot front view

Correct hind foot

Cat foot side view

Splay foot front view

Correct oval foot side view


Pace: (incorrect) supported by legs on the same side. The dog will rock from side to side when moving. A gait used by Poodles that do not have balanced angulation between forequarters and hindquarters.

Correct: trot supported by legs on diagonal

Incorrect: over reaching

Incorrect: Hackney front, also lacks drive




“Continental” clip

Puppy clip

well-sprung ribs allowing maximum lung capacity. This overall design makes for a powerful agile swimmer, facili- tates moving through brush and has the added bonus of being elegant. The head is the hardest thing to grasp and teach to both novice breed- ers and judges. Why this is true I am not quite sure, the initial reaction is usu- ally correct. Most people understand that one expression is prettier than the other but the why is more difficult to grasp or impart (you could spend the time allotted for a seminar on this topic alone). Read the standard, talk to knowledgeable people and look at a lot of faces. Comparison in the midst of a group of dogs can be the most enlight- ening experience when tackling this feature of the Poodle. The legs are straight and parallel (we will avoid the round bone/ oval bone controversy for now). The amount of bone is also a difficult topic and the pro- portional concepts are somewhat sub- jective. What is the proper bone to size ratio? To do the job the bone only needs

to be substantial enough to remain strong and finer bone contributes to the overall elegance. There is also the argument of the “swimmer or runner’s build”. Long, fine bones and the elon- gated muscles that usually accompany them are strong efficient and require less oxygen. That’s all I got—it still remains relatively subjective, there will always be breeders and judges who like them by the pound. Feet are seemingly straightforward, or are they? “Rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads.” These are strong and flexible, great for rugged terrain, mud and water. If you spread the toes (not in the ring please) they are moderately webbed although not like Aqua Man. The paper or splayed foot that is a major fault would most certainly hinder the dog in its task. However, there is some- thing to consider that is not addressed in the standard and rarely discussed. Breeders and spectators alike usually laud the cat foot we see with some frequency; nonetheless they would be

equally as detrimental as the splayed foot and contrary to our breed’s pur- pose. A dog possessing those feet would sink to his elbows in mud and have to be rescued. Now, before I get the email and angry phone calls, I am not trying to rewrite the standard nor do I foster some sinister agenda. I include this merely to demonstrate some of the logical questions that arise when read- ing from this perspective. Contrasting those rather extreme options helps to clarify the significance of the foot described in our standard. Poodles should be moved at a straightforward trot and not at the all- out run becoming more prevalent with each passing show. Movement is very basic; they are a sound, double-tracking breed. The additional description pro- vided is significant and what separates ours from many other breeds. “Light springy action” and “effortless” were included to define the way that the movement should be accomplished and contributes to the elegant, proud, air of distinction in our general description.



When moving from the side, Poodles should maintain the profile they pos- sess standing and not lower themselves to the ground. Trim—ah yes—now we are truly through the looking glass. Entering our world requires a bit of, well, let’s say acceptance. The traditional Poodle trims are rooted in our history and you will have to do some homework to understand its origins and evolu- tion (that could also be the subject of a seminar or rather lengthy article). It is what it is and it is here to stay—don’t be doggin’ our trims. There are ways to approach your physical examination of the dogs that garner the information you need without smashing the hair on top of the head flat or rooting through the hair. To be judging Poodles requires that you learn these techniques. Ask any Poodle person to help and you will be surprised how eager they are to edu- cate prospective judges in this area. Coat texture is also an aspect of our heritage both genetic and vocational. Quite simply our coat and texture is a genetic attribute that was exploited and enhanced because it is both warm and it sheds water (what an asset for a job that requires you get wet). Unfortunately, for the most part you are not going to feel a lot of the best texture when you judge our breed. This is not because it no lon- ger exists but simply a reflection of our time. Most of the dogs in your ring will be immature specimens. In the past, when Poodle entries were much larger, it was easy for judges to get the sense of good Poodle coat texture. Many exhib- its were in the two and a half to four year range. Today mature exhibits are relegated to the specials class with the

median age remaining being under two. Find out what it should feel like but don’t expect it to be prevalent. Now to conclude the looking glass section. Dun—Dun—Dun—Hair Spray. Come on down to Glam-O-Rama or as I like to call it, your local dog show. Dog Shows are exotic, glamorous and excit- ing—that is part of the allure; exhibi- tors, judges and everyone who partici- pates help to perpetuate this modern version of the dog show. The evolution of our trims incorporated and increased the use of hair spray (and other prod- ucts) in the arsenal of tools to enhance, but we are hardly the only breed and in many instance not the worst offender. We are however the most obvious— really—we stand ten inches of hair on end. My advice in judging this phenom- enon, well let’s say you live in a part of the world where people prefer their hair purple and standing on end. If it offends you the problem is you have to get used to it or relocate, but if you point and scream each time you see it, they will relocate you. Can it be taken a bit too far—certainly, and you may act appropriately in those situations. Do, however, spend the time to define where the line is and what crossing it looks like. In conclusion, do your homework. Be reasonable. Be pleasant to exhibitors and Poodles alike. Be yourself. Don’t try to remake yourself to judge Poodles. It is important to bring your own per- sonal experience and knowledge into the equation. Judge with clarity and conviction, be consistent and, above all, be true to the basic tenet of judg- ing as you do effect the direction of the breed.





I live in Micanopy, Flor- ida. I got my first Poodle to show about 31 years ago and have never been with- out Poodles since. I have bred many titleholders under the Kaylen’s name. I have actually been show- ing dogs for about 52 years now. I grew up in the sport of dogs. I traveled to dog shows with my parents, Dick and Ida Baum and my three sisters, Nancy, Jill

I live in Maryville, Missouri and am a retired college pro- fessor of history. I got my first Standard Poodle in 1958. I fin- ished my first conformation dog in 1970 and am still showing. I have also been judging since 1954 and am still breeding; I love those puppies. BRAD ODAGIRI I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and have lived here all my life. My family is very precious and I spend as much time as I can together. I have been married to my beautiful wife Arlene for over forty years and we still have our daily dinner dates together. I recently retired from my professional career in education after 43 years. I started out as an elementary teacher and later a school administrator/principal. My high maintenance breed was a relaxing daily therapy for me after a long and stressful day on the job. I am also very involved with our local dog show clubs. I am the President of our Poodle Club of Hawaii and we will be celebrating our 105th specialty show in May 2018. I am the Vice-President of the Tropical Toy Dog Fanciers Club. I am also a member of our Non-Sporting Dog Club and all the all-breed clubs on Oahu: Hawaiian Ken- nel Club, Windward Hawaiian Dog Fanciers Club and West Oahu Kennel Club. I was deprived growing up without a dog. After we got married, we were offered a “rescued” AKC Silky Terrier and were told to show her. That was in 1976 and that would make it 41 years in dogs. It has been 41 continuous years of showing since our first our first entry in 1976. From that very beginning, we have shown at every show in Hawaii, including all the neighboring island shows. The only time we missed a show is when it conflicted with the Poodle Club of America National Specialties that I have attended annually for over 25 years. I had always wanted to judge. However, with a family, professional and demanding career and show- ing Poodles, I could not add more. When I was contemplating my career retirement, I submitted my AKC judging applica- tion. I was approved for Poodles in 2012. Currently, I have all the Toy breeds and the Toy Group. I have the majority of the Non-Sporting breeds and now work on the Herding breeds. I got my first Toy Poodle in 1979. To improve the qual- ity of my Poodles, I have selectively imported top-bloodlines for my breeding program. I have never stopped breeding and showing what I have. Currently, I have AKC finished over 70 Poodles and all owner-handled-groomed.

and Lynn. My first juniors dog was a Doberman but I have shown many breeds over the years. I still have Poodles but have also done quite well with my Chinese Cresteds in recent years. As far as anything outside of dogs, most everything I do involves dogs to some extent but I would say travel is the one thing I do most outside of actual dog shows. JACQUELINE RUSBY I live in South Shore of

Montreal, Quebec, Cana- da. I’ve been in Poodles since 1959, judging since 1990 and was licensed in 1992. I have been judg- ing for 25 years, 23 years licensed and judge all breeds. I am a Life Mem- ber of the Canadian Ken- nel Club, a member and former Treasurer of the Canadian Dog Judges Association, a past Presi-

dent of the Hochelaga Kennel Club and Mount Royal Toy Dog Fanciers and past Conformation Director of the Ottawa Valley Poodle Club. I am also a member of the American Dog Judges’ Institute. I am a former breeder of all varieties of Poodles. In earlier years, I also participated in Obedience Trials as well as Conformation Shows. My travels now take me for judging in Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand and the US.



Poodle Q&A

1. Describe the breed in three words. TC: Elegant, breathtaking, loyal. BO: Elegant, dignified, spectacular. KP: Smart, beautiful and misunderstood. JR: Intelligent, beautiful, pliant.

BO: The show clips. There are three required show clips and “a dog in any type of clip other than those listed under coat should be disqualified”. The Puppy clip is only allowed on puppies under a year old. There are other must haves on these clips and if anyone is not clear, please consult with a breed mentor. 5. Does show grooming style detract from the athletic prowess of the breed? TC: The grooming is beautiful but it does distract from the proper breed presentation—so many judges think the bigger the top knot or height of the coat is all there is to judging and they really never try to examine the dog— just look at it going around the ring and all too often who is on the end of the lead. BO: Show grooming on a Poodle should not detract the athletic prowess of the breed. The breed origin is a sport- ing breed that was used to retrieve wild games. A judge should not be intimidated by the grooming and big coat and should go right in and feel and see for the sound structure of the Poodle. 6. What about the Poodle makes it such an outstand- ing showdog? TC: They are and have been bred to be sturdy, elegant and show no sign of shyness. Annie Clark always said they would work all day—lay by the fire while you had supper and then be ready for a good card game. BO: For me, the Poodle makes an outstanding show dog because it is a breed that is easy to live with. As a long- time breeder/exhibitor, the temperament is outstanding, very intelligent and makes an excellent companion. The unique sculptured clip presentation of the breed gives it an edge to capture the judge’s eye at the dog shows. 7. What makes a Sporting dog the ideal companion in the 21st century? KP: Not only are they fantastic house pets but Poodles are also hypoallergenic which makes them ideal for people with allergies. 8. What about the breed makes it a great show dog? KP: People tend to forget, the Poodle is a retriever, even though it is in the non-sporting group, so they have a natural athletic ability in the show ring, not to mention the haircuts they are required to be in for showing. Most Poodles when groomed tend to “show off” as well. JR: Poodles enjoy company and love to show.

2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? TC: They must have carriage, proper tail set, proper move- ment and be sound. BO: The “must have” traits are: a pretty “Poodlely” expres- sion and exceptional show temperament. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? TC: Most standards in the show ring would drown if they jumped in the water—the toys are always a challenge on size and the grooming on all three varieties is out of hand—maybe we should go back to three rubber band and no hair spray. BO: In the breed standard in General Appearance, it states “the Poodle has about him an air of distinction...”. This “air of distinction” should not be interpreted as a throw back of the head and forward carriage of the tail that gives an “A” frame profile in the movement. An exhibit that moves like that most likely has an ewe neck and a very poor front assembly. 4. What about the Poodle do you feel is most misun- derstood by new judges? TC: New judges do not know how to examine the back skull-shoulder placement and are ignoring the proper gait—they think running is proper and flat feet are ignored.



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